Neat two-tone design; Decent build quality; Kid’s Corner feature; Beats Audio (headphones only).
No front-facing snapper; disappointing battery life when streaming video; Average display; gets hot in use.
This light, good-looking phone suffers from a poor battery life and dearth of features. It may be an affordable Windows Phone 8 handset, but we hoped for more.
We had high hopes for the Windows Phone 8S from HTC – it certainly looks good – but it has proved to be rather disappointing when it comes to performance. In this way it is similar to its bigger brother the 8S, which also looks and feels good, and it is clear that HTC has taken its time to produce a nice-looking phone.
This phone has got to compete with the likes of the Lumia WP8 phones from Nokia, so it needs to stand out from the crowd. It has a neat two-tone design, which comes in four different colour choices – and it looks pretty classy too.
There is only 4GB of onboard storage, although this can be expanded via a microSD card, which sits under a coloured tab at the bottom of the handset. It’s also where you’ll find the microSIM – it’s a pity the battery doesn’t lurk here too.
Where’s the power
This is, of course, an affordable smartphone, so it only offers a 480x800 display and 512MB of RAM. The processor is of the dual-core 1GHz S4 variety, which means the WP8 OS works well, but it can’t cope with power-hungry apps, and should you be able to find any intensive games in the Windows Phone Store, it wouldn’t be able to run them well, either.
Which brings us to another issue with the Windows phones – the dearth of apps. Not only can Windows not compete with iOS and Android when it comes to the number of apps on offer, the ones that are available are not great quality and are not all optimised for the WP8 devices.
Also, we found that some of the apps are rather demanding of the user – Facebook and Twitter for instance, want to access location info when you’re installing – say no and it kicks you out. True, you can accept and then disable the setting later on, but it’s annoying and fiddly. Turn off location settings on your phone and you have no hope of accessing the apps. Even signing out can be hard – it took us some time to work out how to get out of Skype!
The battery is also a disappointment – it would be a big plus if it was possible to replace it. We just about got a working day out of a full charge, with very careful use, but stream video with the screen on full brightness and the juice drains after only 140 minutes. Very poor – and the phone got pretty warm during this test too, which is a concern.
We were impressed with the call quality, and lack of distorted speech from the speakers – and music lovers have the benefit of improved audio quality from Beats Audio, although this is only available if you’re using headphones.
On the right of the phone is a dedicated camera key – although we weren’t wowed by the five-megapixel snapper, which finds it hard to cope with low light, and also managed to add a strange haze to our snaps. There’s also no front-facing lens for video calls. It seems odd as Microsoft owns Skype and is replacing its own messenger, MSN, with the service.
A USP of Windows Phone 8 is Microsoft Wallet, which lets you store loyalty cards, bank cards and vouchers digitally – it’s a great idea but you won’t be making contactless payments because the phone does not support NFC.
We have some other issues with WP8 – it’s hard to find your way around the OS, as the icons all look the same, which means they’re hard to distinguish, particularly on a four-inch display.
The Windows Phone 8S by HTC is lightweight at only 173g, yet solidly built – and its design manages to be unusual without being over the top. And while there is a place in the market for an affordable Windows Phone 8 handset, this isn't one we can really recommend – the poor battery life, overheating problem and lack of apps just don’t cut the mustard.
|Type of device||Smartphone|
|Operating System||Windows Phone 8|
|Processor speed||1GHz dual-core|
|Screen size||4 inches|
|Internal storage||4 GB|
|Memory card slot|
|Special camera features||Auto focus and LED flash|
|Music player||Playback: .amr, .aac, .m4a, .wav, .asf, .mp3, .wma (version 9 and 10) Recording: .wav (with OneNote)|
|FM Radio description|
|Video player||Playback: 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m4v, .asf, .wmv (version 9 and 10) Recording: .mp4|
|Browser||Internet Explorer 10|
|Games||Downlaod via Marketplace|
|Other||Studio-quality sound with Beats Audio built in|
|GPS||Internal GPS antenna with GLONASS|
|Colours (Standard)||Domino Black-White, Fiesta Red, Atlantic Blue and High-Rise Gray-Yellow|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box||Charging adaptor, USB cable, Stereo headset with In-Line Mic and Call control, Quick Start Guide and reference material|
|Standby||Not yet released|
|Talktime||Not yet released|
|Battery life multimedia||Not yet released|
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